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2021 Mount Isa trade excellence awards

The TAFE Queensland 2021 Mount Isa Trade Excellence Awards shone a spotlight on dozens of exceptional students and apprentices on Thursday 2 September 2021.

Eight award categories were announced at the annual event held at the Mount Isa campus.

Brian Menz, 37, took home two trophies, including the night’s coveted Outstanding Apprentice of the Year Award.

Brian, a Mount Isa Mines employee, also claimed the Electrical Apprentice of the Year title.

"I feel extraordinary about winning! I feel very chuffed and proud and humble at the same time. I was always interested in how sparkies fixed stuff and Glencore and the Copper Smelter supported me through a sponsored electrical apprenticeship and I’m so grateful," Brian said.

The Diesel Fitting Apprentice of the Year Award went to Mount Isa Mines employee Michael Crisp, 21.

"It felt pretty unreal. I didn’t picture myself winning the award but it definitely feels good to know that I’ve been recognised for my hard work," Michael said.

Boilermaker Clay Ferguson, 21, from Popeyes Diesel Services collected the Metal Fabrication Apprentice of the Year Award.

"I feel pretty good about winning. I like being a boilermaker and I really enjoy welding and learning about my trade," Clay said.

The Cookery Apprentice of the Year Award went to Nicola Gallagher, 44, a chef from the Mount Isa Irish Club.

"I feel fantastic about winning because it was blood, sweat and tears for 20 months and I cracked it!" Nicola said.

While Red Earth Hotel chef, Melissa Marsh, 23, was named the Female Trade Student of the Year.

"I’m really buzzing, I can’t believe that I won! I’ve always been quite driven and motivated and I’m proud that my dedication has been recognised," Melissa said.

The night’s youngest recipient, automotive student Connor Baker, 18, from Good Shepherd Catholic College picked up the TAFE at School Trade Student of the Year Award.

"I feel pretty good about winning. I’ve liked learning new skills and I’m taking it all in so I can hopefully use it in the future and go into diesel fitting," Connor said.

Mount Isa Mines employee Jason Norrie, 44, who could not attend the ceremony, took out the Automotive Apprentice of the Year Award.

TAFE Queensland Director of Trades (north region) Mark Patterson said the Trade Excellence Awards began in 2018 and highlight the academic and training achievements of the next generation of local trades men and women.

"Qualified tradespeople play important roles in our everyday lives, and the North West relies heavily on these professionals to keep the economy ticking over,” Mark said.

"The Mount Isa campus currently trains more than 320 apprentices from across the region and it was wonderful to celebrate the region’s top trade students at our awards night."

This event would not be possible without the generous support of award sponsors Ashdown Ingram, Tool’N’Tackle, Mount Isa Irish Club, Haymans Electrical, and Blackwoods.